From the Back Porch: Holidays are for going to Grandma’s house

We observed another holiday this week, and it was at Grandma’s house.

     As long as the matriarch is still up and able, hoiidays are normally held at Grandma’s house. It doesn’t matter if others are more able to host the event, it just isn’t the same if it is held elsewhere.

     We realize that we normally don’t do a big celebration for Memorial Day, nevertheless, if the family is getting together, it’s going to be at Grandma’s. Sometimes, one of the siblings will suggest having a cookout at Mama’s. (Grandma)  We can get the food, bring it and cook it together. Food choices will vary according to the holiday, but it seems to be better when it involves the whole family.

     When our Mama was still living, even during the time she was living with us, we hosted the events for her. Afterwards, I tried to hold the family together but it  just wasn’t the same. All the siblings had children and grandchildren of their own, so the event shifted to that grandma.

     I can recall when we were small, we would go to Grannie Wise’s house on Christmas Day. She would have a large pine tree covered with homemade ornaments and branches of cedar and holly hanging above all the doorways. A great feast was prepared by the women, including the aunts who usually didn’t contribute to the regular meals. But that was special and it is a treasured memory. After her passing, the ritual was lost.

     When the ritual changes, it just shifts before it dies out completely.

     According to the time of year, we had watermelons or homemade ice cream following the meal. Daddy had bought a White Mountain ice cream freezer that would make a gallon and a half of the sweet confection. The huge tub was wooden and had to be hand-cranked. Before the process was completed, someone had to sit on top of the freezer to hold it still, as it would get harder and harder to crank ,

We children loved to take turns cranking or sitting on the tub. We could hardly wait for the delicious treat to get ready to eat.

      When I was teaching, I was amazed at the number of children in my class that had never seen homemade ice cream. So, near the end of school for two or three years, I brought two ice cream freezers, one electric and one hand crank, to let them have the experience of making ice cream. As we prepared the freezers, one of my students asked “Where is the ice cream going to be?” They all had a turn at cranking the manual one and the young man was amazed when we opened it, and he saw the ice cream. They all enjoyed the treat, which we also shared with the principal.

     I know that little tale drifted from the topic of celebrating holidays with Grandma, but it was a ritual that I thought every child should experience. So if their Grandma didn’t make ice cream, they would still have the opportunity to crank an ice cream freezer.

     As the year progresses, the celebrations change and so does the hosting. But it will usually still be held at Grandma’s house.

Fannie Moore lives in Shongaloo.